2022 Kia Carnival vs. Odyssey, Pacifica and Sienna: Battle of the minivans

Is the Carnival the coolest-looking minivan? We think so.


Kia

Whither the minivan? As buyers abandon these former road staples for crossovers, the segment has dwindled to just a few primary competitors. Interestingly, every one of the minivans sold in the US all recently underwent major renovations, and there isn’t a dud among ’em. So with the reveal of the Sedona-replacing Kia Carnival on Tuesday, let’s see how it compares to the Chrysler Pacifica, Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna.

Powertrain

The idea of a hybrid minivan isn’t new, as Chrysler already has its plug-in Pacifica Hybrid. But Toyota damn near leapfrogged the entire industry with the announcement that every Sienna will pack hybrid power. The Odyssey still rocks a regular ol’ V6, while Pacifica buyers get the choice of a V6 or the aforementioned PHEV getup. The Carnival, meanwhile, continues to use a naturally aspirated V6, though it gets a new, 3.5-liter unit this year.

Then there’s the matter of all-wheel drive, something you can’t get in the Carnival or Odyssey. Toyota uses an electronic all-wheel-drive system that merely adds an electric motor to the rear axle, instead of slapping a bunch of complex, heavy mechanicals down there. Up to 80% of the motive force can be sent rearward to maintain traction. The refreshed 2021 Pacifica gets all-wheel drive, too, but it’s a mechanical system that requires slightly more ride height.

Powertrain

Engine Power Torque Transmission
Chrysler Pacifica 3.6-liter V6 287 hp 262 lb.-ft. 9-speed auto
Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid 3.6-liter V6 PHEV 260 hp NA CVT
Honda Odyssey 3.5-liter V6 280 hp 262 lb.-ft. 10-speed auto
Kia Carnival 3.5-liter V6 290 hp 262 lb.-ft. 8-speed auto
Toyota Sienna 2.5-liter I4 hybrid 243 hp NA CVT

Fuel economy

The Carnival’s staid V6 results in pretty lackluster fuel economy numbers, as you can see in the chart below. By comparison, the Honda Odyssey’s single powertrain configuration is EPA-estimated at 19 mpg city, 28 mpg highway and 22 combined — as a matter of fact, that’s also what the EPA rates the Chrysler Pacifica’s V6 fuel economy. The Pacifica Hybrid is slightly less thirsty, with the EPA estimating 30 mpg combined on the gas engine alone. With its lithium-ion battery providing 32 miles of electric-only operation, the Pacifica Hybrid’s MPG equivalent lands at 82 MPGe. The Sienna’s traditional hybrid powertrain, as you can see, results in some impressive numbers.

Fuel economy

City Highway Combined
Chrysler Pacifica 19 mpg 28 mpg 22 mpg
Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid NA NA 30 mpg (gas)
Honda Odyssey 19 mpg 28 mpg 22 mpg
Kia Carnival 19 mpg 26 mpg 22 mpg
Toyota Sienna 36 mpg 36 mpg 36 mpg

Dimensions

We have to imagine the Carnival isn’t too much bigger or smaller than its competitors, though we don’t have the exact dimensions just yet, so we’ll leave length/width/height out for now. Still, Kia notes the Carnival has best-in-class cargo and passenger volume. The Sienna’s wheel-to-wheel length slots between the Pacifica and Odyssey, and its interior capacities are pretty competitive as a result. However, the Sienna also has the smallest passenger volume of the four minivans at 162.5 cubic feet, coming in a cube or two behind the Odyssey and Pacifica. For cargo capacity, we’re using the max number — as in, what’s available behind the front seats.

Dimensions

Passenger volume Cargo volume
Chrysler Pacifica 165.0 cu.-ft. 140.5 cu.-ft.
Honda Odyssey 163.6 cu.-ft. 144.9 cu.-ft.
Kia Carnival 168.2 cu.-ft. 145.1 cu.-ft.
Toyota Sienna 162.5 cu.-ft. 101.0 cu.-ft.

Technology

The Carnival comes standard with an 8-inch display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto built in, but you can upgrade to a 12.3-inch touchscreen. There’s even a second 12.3-inch screen on offer, serving as a digital gauge cluster. Kia offers as many as nine USB ports across its three rows of seats, and there are two 110-volt outlets, as well.

Toyota shoved everything short of the kitchen sink into the 2021 Sienna. There are seven USB ports, up to 18 cup holders, an available Wi-Fi hotspot and a microphone system to beam the driver’s voice to the third row. The second-from-base trim, the LE, rocks tech like a 9-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and the features only pile on from there, with higher grades adding a JBL premium audio system and embedded navigation. 

Both the Odyssey and Pacifica offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, as well, and the 2021 Pacifica will finally make wireless CarPlay available. The Chrysler’s new Uconnect 5 system occupies a larger screen (10.1 inches versus Toyota’s 9.0), and it will offer up to a dozen USB-A and USB-C ports, just a few more than Toyota will make available. There’s also a new FamCam interior monitor that can zoom in on troublemakers in the third row, which is maybe a little Big Brother but necessary if your little ones like getting into things. As for the Honda, it rocks a smaller, 8-inch display, but you get other par-for-the-course accouterments like phone mirroring, embedded microphones and cameras, as well as a Blu-ray player for rear passengers.

Safety is important, too. The 2022 Carnival will come standard with features like blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist and rear cross-traffic alert, but full-speed adaptive cruise control is locked behind an option package. Honda limits its full safety suite to EX trims and above, while the Pacifica and Sienna get pretty much everything standard, even adaptive cruise control.

Pricing

Kia hasn’t said how much the 2022 Carnival will cost, but we can’t imagine it’ll be anywhere outside the MSRPs listed below. The current Sedona starts around $31,000, but considering how much nicer the new Carnival is, don’t be shocked if it jumps another thousand or two when it goes on sale this summer. It’s also worth noting that Chrysler sells a version of the Pacifica called the Voyager with fewer standard features, and therefore, it’s cheaper. 

Pricing

Base price (incl. dest.)
Chrysler Pacifica $36,540
Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid $41,490
Honda Odyssey $33,265
Kia Carnival $34,000 (est.)
Toyota Sienna $35,635

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